AOPA urges FAA to rethink planned airspace changes in Florida

September 12, 2003

Two proposed airspace changes in Florida need to go back to the drawing board, AOPA told the FAA. In formal comments, the association said the plans to establish Class C airspace at Sanford Airport (SFB) and to modify the Class B airspace at Orlando International Airport (MCO) do not adequately take into account user concerns about safety and GA access to and efficient use of the airspace.

AOPA called on the FAA to delay implementing the proposals so that they can be reevaluated, saying, "Airspace and safety issues were raised that lead the association to believe the FAA and users would be best served by revisiting the airspace user group process to work through the multitude of concerns raised by local airspace users."

AOPA noted that the FAA did hold meetings to solicit public input, but that it does not appear that any of the information garnered at the meetings was incorporated into the proposals.

"The user group process allows local airspace representatives from surrounding impacted airports to review and develop recommendations to the airspace proposal," wrote AOPA's Manager of Air Traffic Heidi Williams. "When dealing with a complex airspace area like Orlando Class B airspace, typically users would meet on multiple occasions and work through the issues they have with the proposal and develop recommendations before moving forward with public meetings.

"AOPA strongly encourages the FAA to revisit the airspace user group process in the course of its reevaluation of the airspace proposal," concluded Williams. "And we look forward to working with the FAA as they solicit the insights of the user group in the future."

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